It’s a common thing. In fact, it’s an epidemic. When children are abused, they often blame themselves. It doesn’t make sense at first glance, but then again, it makes perfect sense.
As a child who suffered abuse, I have spent time during my adult years dealing with the repercussions and even healing from it. Something I didn’t learn until fairly recently is why children take responsibility when something bad happens to them, when something bad is done to them.
As an adult, looking through eyes with life experience and wisdom, I know that when someone does something to hurt a child, whether it’s hitting them, repeatedly yelling at them, cutting them down, or molesting them, there is nothing a child could possibly do to ever deserve such treatment.
As a kid, being mistreated didn’t make sense to me at first, and when things don’t make sense, the brain freaks out in fear. My body would go into fight or flight mode, with cortisol and adrenaline pumping all out. In these moments, when I felt completely powerless, one way that my brain felt better was to take responsibility. That was how it made sense of things. Something bad happened to me, I must have deserved it. These thoughts actually made me feel better. Makes perfect sense to a child.
I didn’t even have to be threatened to not tell anyone. It started when I was so young that it became my normal from the beginning. Anytime something bad happened to me, I knew I played a part in being deserving of it, and when I got older, spilling the beans about anything would make me get in trouble (I felt). It was my fault. It was my fault that I was treated badly.
If a child is hit, they must have done something to deserve it. If they are verbally decimated, they obviously did something wrong and are bad. If they are molested, it’s their fault. It is logical to the brain, and makes it feel better. Keep in mind that the brain is linear and logical and needs certain things to make sense of the world. When these parameters are met, it relaxes out of fight or flight mode.
During my journey of healing, I’ve been able to travel back in time, using hypnotherapy, to see over and over again, how I took on responsibility for behaviors perpetrated by others during my young life. The awesome thing about revisiting these moments using hypnotherapy, is connecting with that bit of me that seems to be stuck in time, still believing that she is to blame for bad things that happened to her.
I can make the connection with that younger version of me and share my adult wisdom with her, letting her see that she was absolutely not to blame in any part whatsoever. In that moment, the younger me realizes that she did nothing wrong. She’s not bad. She’s a beautiful little child who had some crazy-ass people doing crazy-ass things to her. She is instantly able to let go of all the blame and shame, and take back her personal power. That’s all it takes to shift and release these old beliefs. Like magic! A miracle!
So, you ask, so what? Well, when you carry these pesky old beliefs around with you, they affect you in ways you can never tell. They contribute to your not feeling so fabulous about yourself. When they are pinged on by something happening to you, you act out (without consciously knowing why) in a myriad of ways. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.
You might road rage, or become triggered when you see someone being treated unfairly, or become triggered when something happens to you making you feel powerless in some way. The thing is, you become triggered and react. A very common reaction to these feelings coming up is trying to make them go away by doing things that make you feel good in the moment, things that boost endorphins. Lash out in anger, drink something, eat something, drive fast, buy something, have sex. The common denominator that screams “unhealed belief acting up!” is, the quick fix doesn’t really fix what’s going on because it keeps popping up.
Another way of dealing with unhealed beliefs that trigger us and pop up unexpectedly is control. When a part of us feels amazingly out of control, we do all sorts of odd things that don’t even relate to what originally made us feel so powerless and out of control.
Over years of medicating these types of beliefs with short-term band aids that don’t really fix things (ironically referred to as a “fix”), it’s not uncommon for the reactions to evolve into depression and self-loathing. Depression is old anger and sadness turned inward and not processed. And extremely controlling behavior is OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
These beliefs of self-blame stay with you your entire life, acting up and acting out at times, and you don’t know why. They will stay active until they are dealt with. I can guaran-damn-tee it. In the healing world, the term is transmuted. They are transformed so that they don’t negatively affect you ever again.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to transmute feelings of self-blame. The Energy Healing arts is all about transmutation. Therapists do great things with talk therapy. And things like prayer and meditation can work wonders as well. What matters is connecting with that (often unconscious) little one that still exists inside of you that is still feeling blame and letting them know they are perfect, innocent, and an amazing child of God, who was doing what they had to do at the time to survive.